At This Civic Center, The Receptionist Is A Hologram
Visitors to the £90 million (US$141 million) building, located in London's Brent borough, can select questions from a touchscreen and "Shanice" will answer them from her "seat" on a screen behind the reception desk.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
Rather than pay a real person to greet visitors at their new civic center, the local council in the northwest London borough of Brent decided to install a hologram behind the reception desk. When a person enters their question on a touchscreen, "Shanice," played by actress Shanice Stewart-Jones, appears on a see-through screen and provides the answer. Currently, the number of available questions and answers is limited; people who are looking for directions to certain departments will be satisfied, but anything more complex will most likely require a search for a human employee.
What's the Big Idea?
"Shanice" came with an initial cost of £12,000 (US$18,800), which the Brent council says is a savings of £17,000 ($26,600) over a real receptionist. However, Brent SOS Libraries spokesperson Laura Collignon says it's still a waste of money: "That £12,000 should be spent on essential services. When they cut libraries they said they needed money for things like home care and other core services, clearly a hologram isn’t a core service." Brent council member James Denselow disagrees: "Nowadays we're constantly having to look at innovative ways to cut costs and they don’t come more cutting edge than Shanice. I hope people come down and visit her...she looks great and she’s always very friendly."
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
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